Thursday, May 26, 2011

IPL Preview: MI vs RCB

Posted by Admin On 7:45 PM

MI would be eyeing an encore of last year final with win over Royals Challengers Bangalore in the second IPL qualifier on Friday. MI would be anxious to retaliate their last year's final defeat at the hands of title owner CSK, who have already made it to the summit clash by defeat RCB in the first qualifier on Tuesday.

But for that to happen, MI will have to first quell the challenge of RCB, who in spite of losing to Chennai, will get yet another chance to meet the criteria for the final by virtue of final at the top of the 10-team points table.

Going into the match, MI would be full with self-assurance from the fact that their batting and bowling line-up clicked as a unit in their previous two matches. The opening slot which has been a cause of concern for MI right from the start of the contest finally clicked with Sachin Tendulkar getting an able associate in Aiden Blizzard.

Chasing Kolkata's modest 147 for seven, the Tendulkar-Blizzard opening duo gave a blazing start to the MI innings, putting on 81 runs in 7.5 overs to set the platform for the victory. And Mumbai would be looking for a repeat presentation from Blizzard and Tendulkar as their middle-order looked a bit shaky in the last few matches.

Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu have fizzled out with the bat after their imposing start to the contest. To add to it, big-hitting Keiron Pollard has been a big letdown for MI in IPL 4, scoring just 143 runs from 15 matches with 28 being his uppermost.

But Kiwi all-rounder James Franklin has been a welcome addition in MI playing eleven in the last two match as he played vital unbeaten knock in both the games to help his side's cause.

In their last round-robin match against Kolkata on Saturday, Franklin came up with a match-winning 45 of 23 balls to guide MI to a amazing five-wicket win and then followed it up with a 25-ball 29 not out yesterday to justify his place in the starting line-up.

With his long handle, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh too has been a exposure for MI down the order. On the bowling front, MI boasts of a potent bowling attack with the likes of tournament's highest wicket-taker Lasith Malinga, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan and young Dhawal Kulkarni up its rank.

With his toe-crushing yorkers, Malinga has been exceptional in the event and come tomorrow; Tendulkar would be looking towards the Sri Lankan to give them a good start by send away the dangerous Chris Gayle early.

Just like Malinga, Munaf too will be a major concern for RCB going into the match as the lanky Baroda pacer can trouble any bastman with his irritating line and length, an appetizer of which was visible during his man-of-the-match effort of 3-27 on Wednesday.

RCB, on the other hand, have no time to dwell on their six-wicket loss to Chennai in the first qualifier on Tuesday. With a second chance in hand, the Daniel Vettori-led side will have to get their acts jointly soon, in particular in their bowling unit if they wish to spoil Mumbai's party on Friday.

In Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Luke Pomersbach and Saurabh Tiwary, RCB have a alarming line-up. Gayle has been RCB's top player with the bat and tops the list of run-scorers with 519 runs from 10 games, followed by Kohli (514 off 14) and Tendulkar (513 off 15).

RCB's batting prowess can be gauged from the fact that despite Gayle's early dismissal against Chennai, they scored 175 for four with Kohli starring with an unbeaten 70. However, bowling remains RCB's top priority after yielding 58 in the last four against Chennai the other day.

RCB have only two world-class bowlers in Zaheer Khan and skipper Vettori, who is suffering from a knee injury and has been lackluster in the last match, conceding 42 runs of his 3.2 overs, including 12 off the last over.


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